Northern Ireland face a relegation decider as they welcome Romania to Windsor Park, Belfast, in 2020-21 UEFA Nations League B.
Only victory could see Northern Ireland avoid relegation to League C whilst Romania know that at least a draw would see them stay in League B, although if the latter lose then survival could be decided elsewhere following the cancellation of Romania’s last match against Norway after a positive Coronavirus test within the Norwegian squad.
Steven Davis won’t feature for Northern Ireland after withdrawing for personal reasons on Tuesday alongside Kyle Lafferty.
Niall McGinn and Jordan Thompson meanwhile have been released due to injury, leaving Ian Baraclough with otherwise a full squad available for selection with no fresh injury or suspension concerns.
Romania have no fresh injury concerns after their friendly win over Belarus last week as Vlad Chiriches and Mihai Baiasa miss out through injury whilst Valetin Cojocaru and Nicusor Bancu withdrew due to positive Coronavirus tests.
- Northern Ireland are winless in their last four meetings against Romania (D2, L2).
- Romania are winless in three previous trips to Northern Ireland (D1, L2).
- Romania have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last nine matches across all competitions.
Romania might be coming into this match with the fresher legs after Sunday’s clash against Norway was cancelled but Northern Ireland put in a positive performance on Sunday in Austria, although Liam Boyce could of perhaps been less selfish with his first shot and instead tee up Conor Washington to put it away which could of provided them with a point in light of their late defensive collapse.
It is worth noting that Ireland seemed to be on the defensive a lot in that match so if they can replicate that here and play a fast counter attack with more awareness of fellow chasing teammates to create clearer opportunities, they could well do enough to prolong their survival bid depending on how UEFA decide to handle Romania’s cancelled match against Norway.
Prediction: Northern Ireland 2-1 Romania
Result: Northern Ireland 1-1 Romania (Northern Ireland are relegated to League C!!!)